DCS terminology and prison vocabulary

You can expect to hear some words and terms in prison environment that you are unfamiliar with – these can include prison slang, terms used by correctional staff and other professionals.

A short glossary of words and terms

Prison terms

Canteen – prisoners get extra food and daily supplies – such as toiletries from the canteen
KEX – the electronic self-service kiosks that provide access to many services – including the canteen.

Unlock times – periods of time when prisoners are allowed out of their cells
Lock-in – times of the day when prisoners are placed into cells and units
Lock down – an operational status when all prisoners are confined to cells and units.

Prisoner – usually someone in custody at one of our prisons. This includes people on remand who have not yet been convicted by the Court. It can also refer to someone sentenced to Home Detention
Offender – usually someone who is under supervision in the community.

Backdating a sentence – when time on remand is considered and deducted from the total prison sentence. This only happens at the time of sentencing.

Induction – a regime for new prisoners
Regime – regimes provide a structure for prison life. They provide the opportunities for prisoners to fulfill the requirements of their case management plans – maintain good order and security. They also provide prisoner management options that reduce the risk of harm to prisoners, staff and visitors. A regime details the routine prisoners are to follow and the privileges available.There are various regimes at each prison.

Observation cell – a cell with cameras that are used to monitor prisoner behaviour and actions.

Staff titles

Correctional staff – trained officers responsible for the custody, care and supervision of prisoners in a correctional institution
Unit staff – a member of staff working in a prison unit and often the first point of contact on any matter
Correctional Officer – a trained prison guard
Case Officer – available in some prisons as a contact for issues regarding a Prisoners Case Plan
Case Management Coordinator [CMC] – the person in charge of the Prisoner Case Plan
ALO – Aboriginal Liaison Officer – a specific point of contact for Aboriginal prisoners and offenders.

Slang terms

Cellie – a prison cell mate
Double up - cells accommodating 2 prisoners
Buys - weekly purchases from the canteen
Ration pack -  a week’s worth of cutlery, cereal, tea, coffee and sugar.

This list will be added to over time as new terms are identified.